In this set of activities adaptable for grades K-3, parents and educators will find ideas for teaching about plot and story elements. These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. Plot topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.
Classroom Activities for Teaching Plot
These K-3 activities provide parents and educators with ideas for reinforcing learning at home about plot. These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. Plot topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.
Ask a person from the community to come in for an interview. This person can be a public servant, such as a firefighter, police officer, doctor, or bus driver, or she or he can be an elderly person, store owner, artist, or chef. Before the interview, brainstorm questions for your students to ask the person. Try to come up with questions that might elicit tales of overcoming challenges. (Where and when did this person grow up?) What is the most important event that has happened in his or her life? What were the happiest and saddest moments? Moderate the interview and then have students make a timeline showing major conflicts in the person’s life. Then use the timeline to write a biography of the person. You can also focus on one event of the person’s life and write a story about it, paying close attention to the plot and order of events.
To extend the activity, have students pick a family member or friend and ask similar questions. Then have students write a timeline and/or story about the person using real events.
Have students look at different books in the classroom. Focus their attention to the back of the books or the book jackets, which often feature synopses of the book’s plot. Then have students pick a book or a story and create a new book jacket or cover. Students can decorate the cover and write a short synopsis of the plot on the back. Students may also wish to draw pictures of the person for the author’s photo. Display all the books in the classroom just as in a bookstore.
Climb Every (Story) Mountain
Discuss different stories with your students. If needed, read a few short books together and discuss the plots. What happened in each story? Explain that the events in a story often build to a very exciting event, called the climax. Identify the climaxes in different stories. Then have students choose a book and describe the plot verbally or by writing short sentences. Have students draw or print out pictures of mountains, such as Mount Everest, from the Internet. They can also copy pictures of different mountains from a book. Have each student create a story mountain for their story using the picture. You may also wish to print out the Talk About It and modify it to suit your class. After students have completed their story mountains, attach them in a line or in several rows to create a story mountain range. Display the range so students can see each other’s work.
Family and Homeschool Activities for Teaching Plot
Ready, Set, Sequence
Have your child pick a well-known story, such as a nursery rhyme, fairy tale, or fable. Then have him or her write five sentences on five separate pieces of paper that describe what happens in the story. Your child can also draw pictures to illustrate their sentences. Younger children may wish to draw pictures and write a few words or short phrases. Then have your child mix up their papers and challenge you to put them in order. After you are done sequencing the plot, you can switch roles.
If possible, take sidewalk chalk and draw a long line on your driveway or neighborhood sidewalk. Together with your child, come up with a story. You may wish to adapt a fairy tale and tell it from a different point of view, or tell a memorable event from the past year. Then take a walk along the line and write down each major event in the story. Remember to identify the characters, setting, and main conflict in the story on your line. You can share the plot line with other community members or relatives.